What does my fierce and wise little warrior girl teach me?

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To love first and ask questions later.

To develop a lot more patience and keep working on it, cos boy do I need to.

To always respect her agency and not be an authoritarian asshole.

To realize that this is a nurturing partnership and that I have to be the responsible, caring adult in it (not the other way round).

To keep learning while being rooted in the present.

To accept, even be grateful for, the fact that life isn’t ever going to be perfect.

To seek out health and well-being as a family, rather than wealth and acclaim.

To ditch the masculine, patriarchal bullshit as much as possible, and to never rest easy with that particular endeavor.

To be cool with doing boring-ass shit that’s interesting to a toddler, over and over (and over) again.

Above all…to be beyond grateful for her and her mother.

Of course, occasionally I get these messages from some of the strangest actions and expressions on any given day that I can only paraphrase thus:

“You will respect my inalienable right to kick and scream during the poopiest of diaper changing sessions.”

“I own you and you will bend to my cute, darling will.”

“It’s your job to make sure I get the nutrition I need and it’s my job to eat, smear, spit, and/or fling as I so desire.”

“What’s your problem anyway? I eat well and my other, infinitely superior, parent keeps me well nourished with breast milk, so stop your whining.”

“If I want to play with the most uninteresting object in the household, then so be it.”

(“Honestly dude, even then it’s only because I possess the kind of brilliant imagination and wonder that said bye bye to your piss and vinegary ass a while back.”)

“Food is meant to be eaten, yes, but you, with your limited and backward adult brain, simply cannot comprehend all the other uses for it. I on the other hand can…and I don’t understand why it bothers you so much when I explore these other uses.”

(“I’m sure there’s a billionaire art collector in Europe who’d pay top dollar for my Swirling Yogurt Smear On Cheap Ass Dining Table – Daya S.V. 2017)”

“You need to really get it through your thick skull that I am of infinite wisdom and eternal truth. You are not the authority of anything. You are in fact full of shit and I see right through you.”

“I am awesome. You are extremely lucky, like once in a gazillion lifetimes lucky, to have me and my mother in your life.”

“Yes, I do want to swing on each and every swing in the park, and no, I’m not ready to go home. For a glorified butler, you sure do ask a lot of annoying questions.”

“Pick me up. Now. Put on music. Now. Dance. Now. Do not stop until I say so or fall asleep. NOW.”

“Remember, mama #1, appa #2, always…and don’t be thinking you can rest easy with that silver medal, slip up and your ass is off the podium.”

“Yes, that feeling of gratitude you have for me and my mother is what you should be feeling…more where that came from.”

XOXOXO

*sigh*

ūüôā

‚̧

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The end of privileged white society (and how an amateur blogger beat the pundits and pollsters)

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Back in May 2016, over 5 months and what seems like a lifetime ago, I published a blog post entitled “9 scary reasons Donald Trump can become president in November

In case you’re wondering how to access it, a shameless, self-aggrandizing link is provided below:

https://loveliberationstruggle.wordpress.com/2016/05/27/9-scary-reasons-donald-trump-can-become-president-in-november/)

I started that post with the following preamble:

Ok, I‚Äôm going to come right out and stake my claim on this prediction ‚Äď it‚Äôs one with a very small chance of actually coming true (but I think that ‚Äúsmall chance‚ÄĚ is getting bigger by the day):

Donald Trump will become the next President of the United States.

Please note that it is Friday, May 27, 2016 ‚Äď over five months away from us actually finding out whether or not this prediction comes true.

I’m not saying that this is a good thing, if it comes true that is. Not by any stretch of imagination. I’m just saying that it’s going to happen. And I’ve been feeling like this for quite a few months now. (Bless the intrepid soul of my long-suffering soulmate and life partner who has to hear my incessant geopolitical monologues.)

Following that introduction, I listed 9 scary and very true reasons for making such a prediction. You can check out the link for more details.

Now I won’t lie, I do feel a little vindicated. But I am anything but happy. Indeed, the day after that most catastrophic of nightmares panned out in surreal fashion before our eyes, I had a near mental and emotional breakdown and had to take a sick day off.

And yet, despite the return of past traumas and pain, I still feel the power of vindication.

An angry, rage-filled, and thoroughly depressing vindication.

Finally!

Finally, all the privileged, white shits of America can see what those of us who are racialized and come from colonized backgrounds have been seeing for fucking centuries.

Finally all the privileged, male shits of America can see what women and trans people across the globe have been seeing for fucking millennia.

Finally, the brutally patriarchal, white supremacist core of America is there for everyone to see.

For this is white misogyny’s last hurrah – and it was easy to spot. Hence the brazen prediction made about America electing Trump as president.

Now, let’s face it. That prediction was just pure dumb luck.¬†I will be the first to admit that I didn’t use any scientific or statistical analysis, nor did I think it actually had much of a chance of coming true. It was nothing more than a gut feeling based on having lived in the settler-colonial societies of America and Canada for the vast majority of my adult life. Indeed, I even shamelessly back pedaled on that prediction a bit in a more recent essay I wrote about rape culture in our societies.

The reason I hark back to that time (apart from flagrant self-promotion) is because exactly a year prior, in May 2015, I wrote a much lengthier piece entitled “The end of privileged white society” – a tirade calling itself an essay and proud to be doing so.

I didn’t publish it. I merely wrote it, edited it, saved it, and told myself that I would publish it on my blog when the time felt right.

I believe that time is now, a year and a half later, because the dawn of this white-supremacist, misogynistic neo-fascism in the US signals the beginning of the end for privileged white society.

As promised to myself, the essay is published below.

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The end of privileged white society

May 2015, Toronto, Canada

Recently I had a particularly liberatory spiritual experience, a stream of slightly higher-than-normal consciousness.

I have tentatively entitled it: The end of privileged white society.

Mostly it has to do with my own liberation as a colonized person of color, which is at the heart of the story. White folk who fail to truly understand their privilege are and always have been a side story.¬†I’ll explain in due course.

Now, when I say the end¬†of privileged white society in this quasi-threatening tone, please note that¬†I disdain masculine, misogynistic violence, or really violence of any kind barring that which is used in choiceless self defense. What I’m really envisioning with the end of privileged white society is equality, and the liberation of all. I’m just doing so a tad angrily, but that’s ok, I’m in control of my feelings. I know how scary an angry person of color is to privileged whiteness (you can see it in the eyes of the particularly insecure among them).

I really do envision the end of privileged white society. The end of white settler-colonial society in that imperialist, genocidal overlord known as the United States of America, in its parasitic client states in Canada and Israel or, hell, maybe even in that drunken joke known as Australia. The end of white Eurocentric society, in that sociopathic dump of a nation-state known as the UK with a vampirish monarchy for an overlord, or that sanctimonious pile of loser puss known as France, or even that technocratic, soulless beast known as Germany, and their various client states in Europe. I see the end of the kind of nightmarish and violent white nationalism in Eastern Europe, which seems to worryingly resort to it for any and all traumas that it might go through. Indeed, I see the end of privileged white society to such an extent that I truly do foresee it soon being referred to in generations to come as the primary source of oppression for the overwhelming majority of humanity for over six centuries.

As a colonized person of color, it’s an extraordinary feeling of liberation to have coursing through my veins.

And course through it does.

I can taste that feeling of liberation. I can smell it. I can sense it in my mind, my heart, indeed, in my soul. The earthen-skinned goddess of liberation is trembling with ferocious indignation.

(And she’s a little scary, let me tell you.)

For I do believe we are on the cusp of a glorious evolution towards a new epoch where we are closer to equality, real equality, towards the true liberation of all, where we share and share alike, where we all live in communion with each other and our non-human family.

Now, I desperately hope this evolution will be non-violent.

The problem is that there is one inviolable truth to this evolution in humanity happening.

White privilege must end.

Just as patriarchy and misogyny must end. Just as capitalism and imperialism must end. Just as religious fundamentalism and nationalism must end.

Privileged white society has to come crumbling down.

I know all the defensive tropes that can and will be raised to counter the sentiments and sensibilities of this piece. I actually couldn’t care less about them because of one undeniable fact:

One section of humanity cannot consume many times more than the overwhelming majority of the rest, having actively brutalized and exploited from the rest of the world without also realizing that for true equality, for the real liberation of all of humanity, that very same society that consumes so much at the expense of so many must end. The consumption must end. The privilege must end.

The party is over people.

Yes, even for white liberals and lefties who voted for Obama but still wallow in white privilege like its divine right.

The resources need to be shared and shared alike – with the rest of the fucking world, with all of humanity in harmony with the earth.

This is not a wish.

It is a natural fact.

Make no mistake, there are going to be sections of that privileged white society who, deep down will admit, are not going to want to share and share alike. Large sections. The Fox News crowd is large, and they will soon be joined by the CNN crowd, eventually maybe even the MSNBC crowd and the indy media crowd. The right wing, the liberals, the slightly whinier liberals, even those who call themselves leftists ‚Äď how many, white or otherwise, across the Western world will actually give up their privilege to share and share alike with the rest of the world?

The answer could be quite sobering.

Because the vast majority, a right royal hefty chunk of privileged white society will organize themselves into protecting their privilege. They will likely do this by reverting back to the insecure rationalizations of their power, by further upholding their unholy belief in oppressive nation-states and corporations, and by retreating into sterile comfort zones of privileged fear (picture hordes of insecure, ageing hipsters huddled behind suburban walls, festooned with the flags and bouquets of vapid white pop culture, while being guarded by brutal state mercenaries itching to kill brown people Рwith everyone involved knowing that there are only so many you can kill before the natural harmony of equality and liberation is restored.)

If they slip back to that soulless garbage, that’s going to be a problem. Because eventually privileged white folk will have to realize (as must we all, cis men, the elites of the colonized lands and more – we must all realize‚Ķ) that there’s a choice in life:

Choice # 1: liberate ourselves together, share and share alike, and understand that our liberation is inconceivable without the liberation of all.

Or

Choice # 2: fall into insularity, oppression, bigotry, whining insecurity, and vain attempts at hoarding one’s privilege when we all know that, sooner or later, nature takes its course.

Nature is all about true freedom, true liberation, and true equality.

Indeed, nature is all about true balance.

And humanity is a force of nature too.

You see, there is a fear within privileged white society that has been fostered by racism and exploitation over many centuries. It is a fear that was ingrained, nay, interred into privileged white society from the day it was born. It is a fear in them that makes me think that a large section of privileged white society will end up inciting even greater violence around the world than it already has, along with its running dogs of religious fundamentalism and patriarchy.

For there is one thing that all those who benefit from privileged white society, whether they’re white or not, fear about the world that makes me realize that white privilege, imperialism, settler-colonialism, Eurocentrism, and racism will either crumble (or be smashed) into the ground.

There are more of the colonized than there are of the colonizer.

Way more.

Way, way more.

By the very definition that privileged white society consumes so much more than the rest of the world combined, over many centuries of colonialism and imperialism, has resulted in one inviolable fact.

Those who consume little be many. The overwhelming majority of those folk are colonized people of color.

Those who consume lots be few. The overwhelming majority of those folk are privileged white people.

Check the numbers if you don’t believe me. Check how much the West consumes compared to the rest of the world, even when the rest of the world includes big, brutal, sub-imperialist powers like China and India. Put it in actual per-capita numbers (you know, if you believe that all human lives are of equal worth and all.)

Indeed, that duality can be rephrased:

Those who need privileged white society to end be many.

Those who need privileged white society to continue be few.

I don’t say this in a threatening way. This evolution in humanity is going to have moments of violence and trauma that we must always do our best to avoid. This is not, nor can it ever be, about violence or retribution.

It’s just fact.

There are always going to be more of the colonized than there are of the colonizer.

And the barriers, the borders, the nationalism, the military might, the state mercenaries, the criminalization, the prison systems, the imperialist wars, the comprador scum, all the privilege that is derived from consuming ten times more than the rest of the world, all of that cannot hold back the long march of time.

And time is on the side of the colonized.

The oil will end. Economies will crash. Ever-increasing numbers of clownish demagogues will come to the fore. You cannot keep consuming and not expect something to come back to bite you in the ass.

And while I don’t believe that white privilege, racism, colonialism, or Eurocentrism will end in my lifetime in terms of a major shift towards greater equality and liberation for all of humanity; I do know it will happen. Indeed, I don’t have to see this liberation in my lifetime, or in this material world, for me to believe in it and be happy about it.

Because I see its beginning.

And I go to bed at night thanking all the goddesses of the universe for not being born white.

Friendships forged in awkwardness

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I often ruminate on some of the various sociocultural differences in societies I have lived in across the world – which is a fancy of saying that I spend a lot of time daydreaming.

But among the many I have noticed or am on the verge of noticing thus far is how awkwardness is treated in different societies.

In most places in the world, awkwardness can more often than not be effectively dealt with by various forms of self and community medication usually involving a variety of spirits and/or herbal supplements.

There are often times however when such easy measures are not always available and thus friendships and relationships might actually have to be cultivated out of said awkwardness.

During those times, I have often found that settler-colonial societies treat awkwardness like some blight to be feared and avoided at all costs.

More earth-minded societies tend to see awkwardness as just another form of the human condition – neither to be feared nor made a big deal of. (These societies, I assure you, also know the good of value of aforementioned healing medications.)

I am realizing that as I wrestle with my own dual identity of part colonizer-Aryan, part earth-minded Dravidian – I much prefer the idea of awkwardness as, indeed, another part of the human condition that makes us human, maybe even a space where friendships can grow and solidarities can be nurtured.

No matter how feet-shuffling it gets.

The patriarchy that is bred in silence – and a bro way to fight it.

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We all are, or at least ought to be, aware of the more brutal manifestations of patriarchy – a social, political, cultural, and economic existence for humanity that privileges men over women and gender non-conforming folk.

(Apologies in advance for any mansplaining transgressions in this essay btw.)

Physical and sexual violence often come to mind right away when thinking about the most commonly cruel fall outs from this system of male power and control.

But I know there is more¬†than just those egregious forms of patriarchy. Many people, myself included, have viewed or continue to view those types of gender-based violence solely in a vacuum, separate from the rotten and fetid foundation that the violence stems from. For if it wasn’t apparent to me before, it certainly is now, that the foundation of this global system of oppression is ultimately kept in place¬†¬†via silence – a willfully tight lipped ignorance.

Most men, across the globe, close ranks when it comes to discussing patriarchy and sexism. Even the self-identifying “decent” ones, like many of the men I used to have in my life, tend to not be very open or concerned about gender injustice because it ultimately means looking into the unearned privileges they have accrued at the cost of the women around them. Now make no mistake, these are men who would condemn gender-based violence, maybe even with a lot of emotion, but cannot bring themselves to understand and engage with their own internalized sexism and male privilege.

The preservation of unjust privileges can often be a far stronger unifying force for those who benefit from them than the dismantling of those privileges can be for those who are oppressed by them.

(Fuck me, there I go mansplaining again – and with such long, boring-ass sentences too.)

But men closing ranks around the preservation of patriarchy is a real pain in the butt – especially if you’re trying to play even the tiniest of roles in effecting some social justice and real liberation (not to mention deal with your own internalized crap). Cos this shit happens across the board – cops, military soldiers, nationalists, religious crazies, cultural figures – all and more close ranks when the injustice of their existence is questioned.¬†It’s men being men.

Petulant, cowardly men.

So when I find myself mired in rather depressing questions.

Ones like:

Why is silence so effective in maintaining this oppressive system?

Why are so many men so very scared of talking about these very real problems afflicting our communities and our homes?

What is it that prevents so many men from embracing true love and liberation and equality? And the enriching, but often difficult, struggles that are needed to keep regenerating those beautiful life forces?

When I get bogged down by such painful ruminations – I also remember to hold onto hope.

For I now have a beautiful new realm of bromance-building to find good men in my life.

It is the gift and all important responsibility of fatherhood.

(Which also often happens to be buckets of awesome, if occasionally irritating, fun in and of itself.)

Because a friendship cultivated with a man out of a mutual treasuring of that most liberating of life endeavors Рthat of parenting a child Рis likely a friendship with a man who is caring, nurturing, and honorable.

And that’s a bro I can hang with.

I don’t have the time or patience for men who fear love, liberation, and struggle

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This is among the longer titles I have for an essay. But I’ve had a three week break from this blog, so I wonder if I’m maybe trying to make up for the break by just throwing it all out there in the title. (Did you also notice the shameful nod to the name of the blog itself.)

Long titles are actually one of those cardinal sins I commit far too frequently as a blogger.

But then again, these long titles are useful for me because they kind of summarize what I’m trying to say. People will also be better informed to see if this essay might be worth the time it would take to read it.¬†And it’s a more democratic and egalitarian way of presenting an essay – catering¬†even to the reader with¬†the patience levels of a fussy¬†infant who has just gained enough sentience to realize how glorious she is and how much she needs to constantly and very loudly exclaim that fact to her parents.

(I love my awesome daughter so damn much now, that she does occasionally frustrate me with how incessantly illustrative she is of my own incompetence as a bumbling father.)

I wrote quite a while back about men who fear love – and today I want to add that I also don’t have the time or patience for them. I just don’t want to put in the energy into maintaining relationships with these men, because they always also fear equality and joy and real happiness and true gender liberation. The pyrrhic benefits of patriarchy and sexism are just too much to let go off because of that fear.

To be sure, I’m not suggesting that these benefits magically disappear when you start fighting for real love and happiness from the standpoint of equality, social justice, and liberation. Men across the world, regardless of the “isms” they identify with, are swaddled in patriarchal privilege, even if some benefits for some men are tempered by colonialism or racism or poverty.¬†Those benefits nevertheless remain in various forms and will remain until we realize the folly of the last few thousand years and return to living in truly gender-liberated matriarchal societies, led and guided by women and gender non-conforming people, especially women and trans people of color.

Now, that will take a while because patriarchy is kinda stubborn and stupid and assholish (not to mention mind-numbingly evil), but letting go of that fear of love and happiness grounded in equality and liberation will reveal the soullessness and diseased nature of those patriarchal benefits to us men.

At least I’m betting it will.

But then again, what the fuck do I know?

So, let me bring in the power of someone who is a far superior soul and human being than I am.

Nowadays, ¬†as is quite apparent from my recent writings, I can’t stop from bringing my little warrior goddess of a daughter into my essays, occasionally using appalling attempts at subtlety. But Daya invokes so much awe in me that I must bow before her strength and wisdom every day (apparently utilizing the power of a blog that gets a dozen views or more on a good day).

Because she teaches me so much about myself, about the people around me, about the world in general. Equally importantly, she helps me unlearn and relearn. She and Sus give me so much happiness, love, and outright freedom of the spirit – that it becomes easy to do that difficult unlearning and relearning. One feels strong enough to deal with any consequences, such as sadness and hurt. What’s a little sadness or hurt (not to mention anger and depression) when you have two powerful goddesses¬†in your family?

Now, I have had to unlearn and relearn a lot about myself and the world, and equally so about my family, friends, and community –¬†both in South Asia and North America. This most recent family visit to Bangalore I made alongside the afore mentioned two greatest human beings on earth – so that one of them¬†could meet her grandparents and family in India – was yet another chapter of unlearning and relearning for me.

For starters, I think I need to finally come out as a survivor of many years of sibling abuse that I faced at the hands of my older brother during my childhood Рphysical violence in the form of punches, shoves and slaps, in addition to regular emotional abuse and verbal humiliation.

I realize that, while I forgive him because he didn’t know better (he seems to be a loyal, caring husband and a good, hard-working father), I would like to simultaneously formalize my non-relationship with him and declare that there never was and never will be any brotherly love between us.

(To be honest, I’m kinda happy that I don’t have to continue the facade of a relationship with bullshit politeness and banal conversations.)

It also just confirms to me how little actual blood or bloodlines matter when it comes to real, caring, and nurturing love for a fellow soul.

I also know that his abusive behavior towards me (which was usually followed by an apology of sorts, in keeping with the cyclical nature of abuse in most family or interpersonal relationships) was pretty much a direct result of being the firstborn in a shitty, socially conservative, and patriarchal marriage between my parents, which was arranged by their own patriarchal, socially conservative parents. The marriage itself had a shitty, socially conservative, and patriarchal relationship with my father’s side of the family, which made things way, way worse.

My parents seem to be doing much better now. As is the wont of the patriarchy from some generations, marriages are for freaking life no matter what, so eventually some of these couples realize that there’s nowhere to go but up, and thus might as well try to get a better marriage since they’re fucking stuck in it anyway, with only their own shittily-married parents as the norm to break free from (it’s no wonder that the bar for loving, long term relationships is set so low¬†across the world).

 

I truly do believe that a major part of it is also fear in men Рfear of perhaps losing those pyrrhic benefits and power that comes from patriarchal social norms, fear of the work and self-reflection needed for true equality and liberation that has to be the foundation for love and happiness, and indeed, fear of that love and liberation itself. Some might call it cowardice, others might say that men around the world are in reality, adult children, immature little bratty boys Рinfantile humans who have been handed a variety of powers and privileges due to thousands of years of patriarchy that molly-coddle the ever-loving crap out of them.

But what do I know…

And that is why, I’m going to stick to the personal (while surreptitiously getting onto a mighty giant pile of soap boxes) and in a nod to both my past and my future relationships with men,¬†however they may or may not end up, indeed to the men in my life across time and space – I make this declaration:

I have no time or patience for men who fear true love, happiness, and liberation as well as the hard work, the struggles, the learning, unlearning and relearning that it takes to build a foundation of real equality, justice and liberation.

If I see this fear in any man in my life –¬†and I now really seek it out because it irritates¬†me no end – I might need to cool off from the relationship, or just not have one, you know, might not really want to be around the guy and talk or be all chill and polite. I might tell the guy, I might not, based on what I need for my own emotional and mental health. Because I need to dedicate my time and energy to people who truly don’t fear love or happiness or liberation – and the necessary struggles against patriarchy and self-reflection around oppression it takes to¬†keep nurturing those life forces.

I have enough awesome love in my life, human and non-human, so I can afford to make this choice.

(NB: I have never paid adequate credit to my awesome, glorious partner, Sus, for all the critique, support and editing help she provides for every essay I produce. I hope to change that from this post onwards and show how truly grateful I am for it.)

Fathers who don’t fear love – The Aka community of central Africa (and other hunter-gatherers)

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As is likely the case for any new parent, I think about parenting a lot. Even, or possibly especially, during times when I am not at my best.

Now, even though I consider mothers and motherhood to be the greatest and most liberating of human pursuits, I nevertheless find myself equally drawn to stories of loving and nurturing fatherhood.

Unfortunately in settler colonial cultures, both pop and otherwise, as well as parasitic colonial cultures, again both pop and otherwise, the bar for fathers is set so very low that I often have to seek inspiration elsewhere.

Thus, I try to seek out stories and narratives of honorable, caring father figures in my own indigenous roots and other indigenous communities¬† –¬†especially among matriarchal or once-matriarchal societies¬†¬†that have existed across the earth.

Like the Aka community of central Africa.

These amazing fathers hold or are within arms reach of their children, from birth till young adulthood, a whopping 47% of their time. This means that barring hunting, gathering, housework, and sleep – Aka fathers are either carrying their children or actively engaged with their children, and always within arms reach. No other society in any part of the world comes anywhere close to the kind of nurturing and caring parenting that Aka men undertake as part of their role in Aka families. They often do this in community with other Aka fathers and mothers, and gender roles are rather seamlessly interchangeable, with a democratic, flexible, and fundamentally egalitarian division of labor.

Joanna Moorhead, in speaking to anthropologist, Barry Hewlett, writes thus:

Another lesson the Aka have for us – and this is for all of us, mothers as well as fathers – is about how precious children are, and how lucky we are to have them in our lives. If it sounds a bit schmaltzy well, that’s exactly why we need to hear it: the fact is, says Hewlett, that we’ve strayed into believing that our kids are a burden rather than a blessing and that’s something the Aka never do. “To the Aka, your children are the very value of your life. The idea of a child as a burden would be incomprehensible there … children are the energy, the life force of the community.” A saying from another tribe he’s studied, the Fulani, sums the sentiment up: they say that you’re lucky if you’ve got someone who will shit on you.

The Aka community (and apparently many other egalitarian¬†indigenous¬†societies) consider children a blessing rather than a burden or an unproductive member of society. The happiness, care, and nurturing of children remains the most life-affirming endeavor for the Aka community. This then results in egalitarian and fairly unstructured free play as the baseline for learning and education. Thus, caring for children doesn’t just foster love in the family and community, but also joy, laughter, music, fun games, generational knowledge, and labor-turned-into-play.

(No wonder then that Marshall Sahlins postulated hunter-gatherer societies as the “original affluent society” – not because they had accumulated material things, but because they had mastered the art of great happiness from desiring and needing very little for their sustenance while basing their lives on¬†community, love, and living in harmony with the earth.)

For me there is another major takeaway lesson from the Aka and other matriarchal or once-matriarchal societies.

These are fathers who don’t fear love.

They don’t fear the great (and glorious) task that is love.

And care.

And nurturing.

They don’t shirk from the very organic and beautiful process of fatherhood, and just as organically link it to gender egalitarianism and tight knit communities.

And they do so for a very simple reason.

It makes sense.

Because really when you think about it – it makes sense to lead a life where you prioritize love and care and nurturing and egalitarianism and joy and laughter and play and simple living and community and solidarity.

There’s not much to argue about there.

I imagine they themselves would be quite amused that I am speaking about them with such reverence and awe.

(On the other hand, they might be wondering why the men in our society look so much more miserable than the men in theirs.)

References:

Hewlett, Barry (2009). “The Cultural Nexus of Aka Father-Infant Bonding” in C. B. Brettell and C. F. Sargent (Eds.), ¬†Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective (39-50). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Moorhead, Joanna (2005). “Are the men of the African Aka tribe the best fathers in the world” in¬†The Guardian. June 15, 2005. (Link:¬†https://www.theguardian.com/society/2005/jun/15/childrensservices.familyandrelationships)

Sahlins, Marshall (2005). “The Original Affluent Society” in M. Sahlins,¬†Stone Age Economics.

Sahlins, Marshall (2009). “Hunter-gatherers: insights from a golden affluent age” in¬†Pacific Ecologist. 18: 3-8.

What is it that makes babies so spiritually powerful?

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I will never forget that very first feeling I had when Daya was born.

That rush of spiritual energy.

It was indeed immense – throughout the entire process of birth – filled with no small amount of love, high emotions, gratitude, focus, relief, and pure joy.

But at the very root of it all, there was one particular feeling that stood out when I first held my daughter in my hands, all gooey, and sticky (and ever so calm, come to think of it).

Awe.

I was in awe of this being  that had a spiritual power far superior to anything I could ever hope to possess or be.

I was in awe of this entity that seemed to be able to look right through me and calm me down when I started getting scared.

I was in awe of this tiny little baby that felt like I was holding the spirit of the earth herself.

So fragile.

Yet so radiant and powerful.

This feeling of awe has never left me. But it has also resulted in some strong spiritual beliefs.

For instance, I am of the firm opinion that the souls of babies are quite possibly the closest we will get to a living embodiment of divinity.

(Of course those souls will eventually get the ever-loving shit kicked out of them, especially in boys, due to patriarchy and sexism…but you know, I’m in a happy place here, so am going to focus on the cute and cuddly side of life for now.)

Needless to say, I am and continue to be in total awe of my daughter and the strength in her soul. I doubt that will ever stop being the case.

My little baby warrior and freedom fighter.

I have often thought long and hard about why Daya is so spiritually powerful. Indeed why all babies are so spiritually powerful.

And I realize that they are the embodiment of the very essence of humanity.

They teach us that love is the only entity that can save us from ourselves.

Equally importantly babies teach men that love should never, ever be taken for granted.

They tell us, in no uncertain terms:

I don’t care¬†about the way things have been all these years.

I don’t care if you’ve lived your life taking the love that has been showered upon you from birth for granted.

I don’t care about the unearned privileges of patriarchy nor the pyrrhic benefits of sexism that have swaddled you for thousands of years.

Love me, and love me properly.

Because I and humanity deserve nothing less.